Last night Father David hosted a “Happy Hour” to thank us for the time and for the work we have done. A warm beer and Sister Antonios fruit tort was the fare along with some reminiscing and the presentation of the wooden crosses to Ali, Wayne, and I that are given to Carmelite Missionaries. He told the other two fathers and the three sisters that the benefactors of Wine to Water have done more for the people of the Kyengaza area than anyone one else and that all of us are a huge part of the lives of the people here. A nice evening for the last night in Kyengaza.
Today, Sunday is all parish day so all of the people from all of Kyengaza met at the Malagala church to celebrate together. It was an amazing service where clergy, govt officials, and leaders from each village got up and thanked all of the people from Wine to Water for their support and kindness. I was asked to address the villagers and with a Lugandan translator I hope I conveyed that Alison, Wayne, and I were only the faces of Wine to Water and that there were many people that were home in the United States that give so much so that they will have the hope of fresh water for their children and their communities. A leader from the area got up and acknowledged that due to the efforts of the boreholes and collection systems everyone has benefited from a health perspective but that it has especially helped the woman and children who have always been responsible for the chore of walking long distances to provide the bacteria filled water in the past.
So five hours of praising God, being very grateful to us, and celebrating a feast for us all of matoke (banana mush), potatoes, rice (with gravel in it), chicken cooked in banana leaves, greens, and a purple peanut sauce and we headed back to Entebbe, a five hour journey to sleep close to the airport so we will be able to make our 9:25 am flight to London.
The week has gone by with many lessons and many surprises. Death is always present here, justice is taken into the hands of the villagers and is swift, witch doctors still practice regularly and control the minds of many, Aids is huge, child abuse is being fought, and Malaria is always just around the next bite. Father Larry is hoping to get Malaria soon because he thinks you are not a real African until you have it! For me I’d be good just being an African Friend.
Now I will get under my mosquito net and say my prayers before I close my eyes for the last time in Africa. I will thank God for all of my blessings, my wife Tracy, my children Ali, Sami, Steven, Cooper, and Mikie, my friends back home, my new friends here, and for showing me first hand what Jesus meant when he said “Love one another as I have loved you”.
Thank you all so very much for all you have done for these wonderful people and these beautiful children. Your contributions and support have given them a better life, a healthier life, and a great hope for a better tomorrow.
May you be blessed all of the days of your lives and may you receive help in your times of need as you have provided for the people of Kyengaza, Uganda.
Peace and Farewell from Africa,